BEDFORD, Ohio - The man accused of running a brothel out of his Bedford office building pleaded not guilty in court Tuesday.
His bond was set at $10,000.
James Walsh, 71, of Willoughby was indicted on 15 felony counts including six counts of promoting prostitution and nine counts of money laundering. The indictment charges that he he supervised a staff of women who provided a menu of services ranging from nude massages to sex acts on the third floor of the Walsh Professional Building at 466 Northfield Road in Bedford.
Extensive financial records seized by investigators executing search warrants on Sept. 30 indicate that Walsh's operation has employed numerous women this year who serviced hundreds of clients.
Customers of what was known as "Studio 54" were required to sign a waiver that they were not undercover police officers, and some men used credit cards to pay for their bills. Investigators are evaluating the names of everyone in the records, McGinty said.
As part of the indictment, the prosecutor is also requesting that Walsh forfeit certain assets, including the office building, $6,750 in cash seized from the premises during the execution of a search warrant and two vehicles.
Bedford police initiated the investigation earlier this year after one of Walsh's sex workers apparently overdosed.
"Many of these young women are addicted to drugs or destitute and are being abused by pimps,'' said McGinty. "It was an overdose at this bordello - and the woman's rescue by fire fighters and police officers - that triggered this investigation.''
The raids on Sept. 30 were conducted by police officers from Bedford and Willoughby Hills and agents from the U.S. Secret Service and the Internal Revenue Service.